Note: I will be deviating from my standard content today to open a dialogue on the missing and murdered aboriginal women and children in Canada. Please keep in mind during discussion, this is a sensitive topic for many people, so please be respectful in the comments section.
Today, I attended a panel discussion in Whitehorse, Yukon about the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada. The panel included Melissa Atkinson, a renowned former Crown prosecuter and current criminal defense lawyer, Adeline Webber, chair of the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle, Jessica Loacke-Thompson, the Director of the Yukon Human Rights Commision, and, Liane Charlie, Political Science Instructor at Yukon College. The panel was moderated by Christine Genier, a talented Southern-Tutchone actor and radio broadcaster who has worked extensively with programs and productions bringing awareness to the epidemic of violence against women.
The event started a wonderful and thought-provoking discussion that I would like to share. The panelists spoke about the reason behind the national ignorance around the topic of violence against aboriginal women. It also addressed the relationship between indiginous women and the RCMP and Canadian Justice System along with many other topics that beg to be addressed in a public forum.
During the discussion, when asked what they believe is a solution to the nationwide issue of unrecognized violence, Jessica shared this with the audience:
To imagine a world without [domestic] violence is to imagine a world where consent is one of our highest and most precious values. Toddlers can learn consent.
This point really stuck with me and is one with which I completely agree. The begining of the end of this sickness, this disease of disregard towards life and culture, begins with education. With teaching the next generation what it means to respect one another as equals. Our community deserves to know what it means to respect women. Women who deserve the right to equality and security, to live in their homes and neighborhoods without fear of being beaten or murdered.
Again, the panel brought up many points to be considered, including the lack of cooperation with the RCMP. CBC News has curated a page that explores 34 cases of missing and murdered aboriginal people, which the RCMP say do not invlolve foul play. However, these women’s families do not accept these findings, as evidence towards foul play is apparent but was not considered. Please note that many readers may have known some of these women personally. Any disrespectful mention of these women in the comments section will be removed and those commenters will be banned from discussion here. I’ve also shared links and contact information for those who are here to help in The City of Whitehorse and it’s surrounding communities. If you live elsewhere in Canada, I encourage you to share similar information in the comments section, which will be added either here, or in a page of it’s own.
Please show our women the respect they have a right to. Please take the time to research how you can help fight against passive and apparent racism in your community and our nation.
Those who are here to help:
Women’s Legal Advocate
Skookum Jim™ Friendship Centre
3159 – 3rd Avenue
The Victoria Faulkner Women’s Center
Women’s Support Center and Safe House Drop-in
503 Hanson Street
Drop-in Hours: 11:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday to Friday
Safe Place Drop-in: 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Kaushee’s Place, The Yukon Women’s Transition Home
24-hour Crisis Line: (867) 668-5733
Third Party Reporting Information